Health care waste handling practices among health care workers at Kenyatta National & Referral Hospital – Kenya
The world Health Organization (WHO) estimates that an average of 0.5 kilograms of hazardous waste per hospital bed per day and 0.2 kilograms or more are produced by high income countries and low-income countries respectively. Health-care waste management requires increased diligence to avoid adverse health outcomes associated with poor practice, including exposure to infectious agents and toxic substances. The aim of the study was to determine the medical waste management handling practices among health care workers. A descriptive cross-sectional design was adopted. A total of 297 doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and supportive staff were randomly selected using departments as strata. Data was collected using self-administered questionnaires. Data was entered in Microsoft Access and exported in SPSS Version 23.0 for analysis. Descriptive statistics were performed, and results presented as text, tables and charts. The waste generated was mostly general waste. About 67.3% (n=182) of health care workers used correct color codes while segregating waste, 89.6% maintained a routine schedule in medical waste collection. Personal Protective equipment was available to 89%, (53%) experienced an injury while handling medical waste among whom 57% sustained needle stick injuries. However, 78%
(n=113) did not seek post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) management. The results identified gaps in waste management practices and low adherence to safety measures. Creating awareness on risks, mitigation measures associated with handling medical waste and timely repairs of the treatment plants are recommended.